MARK HIX'S ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS GRAVY WITH JUST A SPLASH MARSALA
1kg turkey bones, wings, or necks or a mixture, chopped into small pieces
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
A couple sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large leek, trimmed, roughly chopped and washed
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2tsp tomato purée
1.5 tablespoons plain flour
3 litres chicken or beef stock (a couple good cubes will do)
10 black peppercorns
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
4-5 tablespoons or more of Just A Splash Marsala
Makes about 1 litre
I've often seen people scrabbling around at the last minute trying to make gravy, after the bird is cooked because they think or have been told that the cooking residue is enough to flavour the gravy. Well a good meaty stock or gravy base takes an hour or two at least to gain maximum flavour so I would always recommend cleverly getting ahead of the game. Rather like in restaurant kitchens. I like to make my base gravy ahead of time and then just de-glaze the cooking pan with wine and add the base gravy to the roasting pan. This takes about 5 minutes and you know that
your gravy is going to taste good because you've done the long simmering well in advance.
My Christmas Day gravy is in the freezer already - and has been for a month or so, I’ve go all sorts of sauce like gravies in there and when you are at a loose end it makes sense to get ahead and make some gravy. You can use chicken bones for this if you wish.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Roast the bones and the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes until lightly coloured, giving them a good stir every so often. When they are a nice golden-brown colour, add the tomato purée, then the flour and stir well
with the bones and vegetables in the roasting pan. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove the roasting tray from the oven and add a little of the stock and give it a good stir over a low flame. This will remove any residue from the tray and begin the thickening process. Transfer everything into a large saucepan, cover with the rest of the beef or chicken stock and some cold water if the stock doesn't cover the bones and add the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that forms and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 hours. The gravy may need topping up with water to keep the ingredients covered. Skim occasionally as required.Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and remove any fat with a ladle. Check its strength and reduce it if necessary. If the gravy is not thick enough, dilute some cornflour in a little cold water and stir in.